• No_Ads
today's Pick
Tutu U-turns, says will attend Mandela burialPublish Date: Dec 15, 2013
Tutu U-turns, says will attend Mandela burial
  • mail
  • img
Desmond Tutu had earlier cancelled his trip, saying he was not invited. PHOTO/AFP
newvision

JOHANNESBURG - South African peace icon Desmond Tutu's office said he would attend Nelson Mandela's funeral after all, after earlier saying he had cancelled his trip because he was not invited to his old friend's burial.

"Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu will be travelling to Qunu early tomorrow to attend Tata's funeral," the Anglican cleric's office said in a brief statement on Saturday.

"Tata", or father, is one of the names by which Mandela is affectionately known in South Africa.

Earlier, Tutu -- who has at times been openly critical of the South African government and Mandela's family -- had said he was not going to the burial because he was not invited.

"Much as I would have loved to attend the service to say a final farewell to someone I loved and treasured, it would have been disrespectful to Tata to gatecrash what was billed as a private family funeral," Tutu said in a statement.

"Had I or my office been informed that I would be welcome, there is no way on earth that I would have missed it."

Staff said the retired Anglican archbishop had cancelled a Friday flight to Eastern Cape province, where the funeral will take place on Sunday, "after receiving no indication that his name was on any guest or accreditation list".

Tutu's account of events was at odds with that given by the government of President Jacob Zuma, which the clergyman has criticised repeatedly and publicly.

Amid an outcry, the presidency insisted the anti-apartheid campaigner was on a list of accredited dignitaries.

"He is definitely on the list," presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj told AFP, saying he was "taken aback" by claims that the Nobel peace laureate fondly known as the "Arch" was not invited.

"The Arch is not an ordinary church person, he is a special person in our country," said Maharaj, promising to correct any misunderstanding.


Desmond Tutu has at times been openly critical of the South African government and Mandela's family. PHOTO/AFP

Moral beacon

Tutu, who retired in 2010 but is still regarded as a moral beacon for South Africa, like Mandela, has been openly critical of Zuma's graft-tainted administration.

He has a long history with the ruling African National Congress (ANC) of Mandela and Zuma, and presided over the funerals of famous struggle activists including assassinated communist stalwart Chris Hani and former party leader Walter Sisulu.

But relations have soured, and the popular clergyman was also left off the official programme for a mass memorial service held for Mandela in Soweto on Tuesday, attended by nearly 100 world leaders.

Tutu, who baptised South Africa the "Rainbow Nation", declared in May that he would no longer vote for the ANC because of "the way things have gone".

In 2011, the outspoken clergyman blasted Zuma's administration for being "worse than the apartheid government" after it failed to issue the Dalai Lama a visa to attend his 80th birthday -- vowing to pray for its downfall.

And he condemned the police "massacre" of 34 striking mineworkers in August last year.

More recently, Tutu pleaded with Mandela's family not to "besmirch" the icon's name after some relatives became involved in a public spat over the Mandela burial site.

Tutu's absence would have been another embarrassment for South Africa after it emerged that an interpreter for the deaf who translated at Mandela's memorial on Tuesday was signing gibberish.

Mandela spent his first night as a free man at Tutu's home in 1990 after his release from 27 years in prison.

The two men remained close over the years.

Mandela appointed him to lead the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to probe apartheid-era wrongs, and has said that Tutu's contribution to the country was immeasurable.

AFP

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Pope Francis washed the feet of a dozen elderly and disabled people including a Libyan Muslim during an Easter ritual in Rome on Thursday imitating Jesus Christ's humility....
Kabaka wishes Ugandans a happy Easter
The Kabaka of Buganda Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II has wished his subjects and the people of Ugandans a happy and peaceful Easter festive season....
Kotido Diocese needs sh378m for Martyrs Day preps
The Catholic Diocese of Kotido needs over sh378m to prepare for the Uganda Martyrs Day celebrations due on June 3, 2014 at Namugongo shrines....
Germany supports vaccination in EAC
Germany has signed an intergovernmental agreement with the East African Community (EAC) to support vaccinations in the region....
Red Cross protests as Bobi Wine claims impounded car
THE Toyota Tundra pick-up impounded from former Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS) secretary General, Richard Nataka’s home in Munyonyo has been claimed by singer Bobi Wine...
UNEB apologizes to Kyambogo over Ndiege
UNEB has apologized to Kyambogo University for having “unintentionally” invited Prof Isaiah Ndiege Omolo to a Board meeting...
WIll the national ID registration process be completed in the scheduled 4 months timeframe?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter